Teaching of Reading

“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.”

Frank Serafini

The teaching of reading in Harlow Green Community Primary School is given high priority by all staff.  It is a vital life skill and is essential as the key to independent learning.  Furthermore, staff aim to promote a love of reading for pleasure and enjoyment and show children the opportunities that can arise from being a reader.

We are clear in our belief that reading is a multi-strategy approach to understanding the written word. It is not simply mastering the art of decoding, but involves the ability to read with understanding a wide range of texts including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and real-life texts such as labels and captions.

At Harlow Green we aim to:

Foster an interest in books and a love for reading by giving children access to books that are exciting, engaging and age appropriate.

Ensure children can read with confidence, accuracy, fluency and understanding.

Develop pupil’s imagination and become critical readers.

Expand children’s written and oral vocabulary.

Early Reading – Phonics: Read, Write Inc.

At Harlow Green, we believe the systematic, daily teaching of phonics is the first steps to developing, not only a love of reading, but the skills to be a successful learner. We use the Read, Write Inc. programme to get children off to a flying start with their reading.  Reading opens the door to learning and a child who reads a lot will become a good reader.  A good reader can handle more challenging material and a child who reads challenging material is a child who will learn.  Our vision is that all children will have confident phonic knowledge by the end of Year One and be in a position to continue to develop their reading journey.

At Harlow Green, we teach synthetic phonics as our main strategy for decoding. This is referred to as Read Write Inc. (RWInc), but this is also supported by teaching sight vocabulary (key words), using picture cues and using the context of what we are reading to provide a sense of understanding. This process begins with our earliest learners in Nursery and continues throughout Reception and Key Stage One.

Children are routinely assessed for their sound recognition, blending and reading and extra intervention is provided where appropriate.

Developing Reading – Guided Reading

By the end of Key Stage 1 and into Key Stage 2, the focus becomes primarily on comprehension.  Differentiated and inclusive lessons focus on the key skills outlined in the National Curriculum; understanding, inference, and deduction and higher-order reading skills. As children become more proficient in reading, teachers will hear them read through a Guided Reading approach. During this process, the children work in small groups, once a week, to read and share texts with a clear focus on key questions. This will be supported by a number of activities during the week with children working independently to consolidate and practise.

In Key Stage 2, there is a gradual movement towards whole class comprehension-based sessions where children study a short text. The focus is then on analysing the text to develop a deeper understanding and be able to express individual responses and discuss author intentions.

Key Stage One – Reading Scheme

At Harlow Green Primary School, we follow the Read Write Inc. Phonics scheme of work to teach children to read.  This programme begins in Nursery where the children are supported to play sound games and experience initial letter sounds.  A “Story to Share” book is sent home weekly for the parent/carer to read and talk about with their child.

Within Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, children are provided with a reading book, at an appropriate level, to take home and read, twice a week. Before children are blending (sounding out) independently, they will be given a picture book and a story to share with their grown up each week.  Once a child can blend independently, a paper copy of the book/story they are reading within their phonics group is sent home which allows invaluable practice and rehearsal to enable fluency.  Additional to this, a colourful story book (which they will be able to read independently and builds upon texts they have been reading at school) is provided for home reading.   As children progress through the Read Write Inc colour levels, the complexity and length of the book increases.

Once a child is more fluent with their reading in Year 2, they are given a reading book at an appropriate level to take home and read, with the expectation of at least one book a week.  The range of books will encompass a variety of reading schemes so that the children are able to explore a range of text types and styles.  These schemes include Oxford Reading Tree, Story Sparks, Project X, In-Fact, Reading 360 and a variety of non-fiction texts to support the development of children’s reading skills as well as their engagement.

Key Stage 2 – Accelerated Reader

At Harlow Green Primary School, our vision as children move through Key Stage 2 is to further promote enjoyment of reading, so that all children become confident and competent independent readers.  Children will develop both an imaginative and critical view of the world in which they live, preparing them to fully engage in all subjects and deepen their knowledge.  Reading, at Harlow Green, will allow them to go further than they ever thought possible.

The Accelerated Reader programme is a powerful tool for monitoring and managing independent reading practice.  With Accelerated Reader, we are confident that teachers can create a reading programme to meet the needs of every individual child.  Using information generated by the software, teachers can help children select books that are difficult enough to keep them challenged, but not too difficult to cause frustration.  We can turn every learner into a successful reader.

The programme also allows staff to support and monitor children’s reading practice.  Children pick a book at their own level and read it at their own pace. When finished, the child takes a short online quiz to measure how much of the book they understood. In our school, we ensure that there is a wide choice of real-life fiction and non-fiction books to access at each level, so that there are books for all children to be interested in.

In the table below you can see the typical appropriate range for children in each year group.

Year 5 and 6 – Reading Plus

In Year 5 and 6, children at Harlow Green use Reading Plus. Reading Plus is a computer based programme which helps to build the physical skills essential for fluency and stamina; provide the texts to build vocabulary and comprehension; and taps into student interest to build confidence and motivation. Children read a range of texts on screen and then answer questions from the text. They are challenged to improve their reading rate and fluency whilst still developing the comprehension skills to understand the text.

Reading For Pleasure

Hearing stories and being able to enjoy listening to somebody else read is one of the core values at Harlow Green. Each class has a designated daily story session where children are given the opportunity to listen to the teacher read.  During this time, the teacher will take the opportunity to discuss themes, vocabulary and contexts that further develops children’s understanding of the world around them.

Home Reading

It is widely recognised that regular practice allows children to continue to develop their reading skills as well as develop their love for reading.  We encourage an adult to read with their child/ren as often as possible and to comment in the children’s reading journals. All children at Harlow Green are given the opportunity to change their reading book on a weekly basis.

Recommended Reading

Finding books to read at home that are age-appropriate is often a concern for parents. Remember, any reading your children are doing is beneficial because even the simplest of books can have multi-layered meanings and it will all help to promote a life-long love of reading.

Click below to find out more information for each year group of some recommended reads.

 Year 1 Reading List

Year 2 Reading List

Year 3 Reading List

Year 4 Reading List

Year 5 Reading List

Year 6 Reading List

The following websites also contain other information about authors and similar themed books, which may be useful in providing further suggestions.






Questioning Children

Reading with children and discussing books is one of the most rewarding things that a parent can do with their children. It opens up a world of possibilities and curiosity and can be a mutually enjoyable period of time. Any discussion will be worthwhile, but we recognise that sometimes knowing the kinds of questions to ask is difficult. Below you will find a list of questions that can be used to help support reading at home. They are not designed to be asked all at once or every time that you read with your child. The main thing is to simply enjoy the experience of reading with your child.


Questions to ask before you read

  • Can you look at the pictures and predict what you think will happen in this book?
  • What makes you think that?
  • What characters do you think might be in our story?
  • Do you think there will be a problem in this story? Why or why not?
  • Does the topic/story relate to you or your family? How?

Questions to ask during the reading

  • What do you think will happen next?
  • What can you tell me about the story so far?
  • Can you predict how the story will end?
  • Why do you think the character did _______?
  • What would you have done if you were the character?
  • How would you have felt if you were the character? (use different characters)
  • As I read____________, it made me picture________ in my head. What pictures do you see in your head?
  • As you read, what are you wondering about?
  • Can you put what you’ve just read in your own words?

Questions to ask after reading

  • Can you remember the title?
  • In your opinion, was it a good title for this book? Why or why not?
  • Were your predictions about the story correct?
  • If there was a problem, did it get solved?
  • What happened because of the problem?
  • Why do you think the author wrote this book?
  • What is the most important point the author is trying to make in his writing?
  • What was your favourite part of the story?
  • If you could change one thing in the story, what would it be?
  • Can you retell the story in order?
  • If you were __________, how would you have felt?
  • What is the most interesting situation? in the story?
  • Is there a character in the story like you? How are you alike?
  • Why did you like this book?